Blow-ins, sheilas, ducks, ferals perved upon

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Last updated on July 27th, 2017 at 06:18 am

Northern Territory chief justice Brian Martin, judge in the ongoing Peter Falconio murder trial, is furious over a Guardian article that painted NT capital Darwin as a yokel backwater:

Turning to a lawyer who was present in court, the judge said: “I would urge you to get instructions for an appropriate retraction and apology for all concerned. I will consider after I have seen that what further action should or should not be taken.

“We all have a sense of humour. But there’s a right way and a wrong way of doing this and people who blow in for a short time, send us up unfairly and then scarper are not appreciated.”

His Honour means to say that he is not amused by those who attend briefly, mock proceedings, then quickly leave. Martin is possibly a little over-sensitive. The trial has been entertaining for the contributions of several witnesses who have bravely Spoken Australian to Power. Like truck driver Vince Millar, rescuer of Falconio’s girlfriend Joanne Lees:

“I was just driving along, as you do, and this sheila jumped out in front of my truck. Her hands were together above her head. As she sort of jumped out, it was all very quick … “

Miss Lees then told him that her attacker had had a gun and had held it against her head.

“I was shit scared,” he said.

Well, who wouldn’t be? As The Telegraph reports, her hair was full of “duck tape”. Australians, like most sensible people, are terrified by adhesive mallards. Roadhouse worker Greg Dick testified yesterday that he’d seen Falconio and Lees pull up outside his eatery in their Kombi van:

“I thought it was a load of ferals and I was going to give a mouthful to them,” Mr Dick told the court.

He went inside to make a cup of tea and smoke a cigarette, and saw the couple sitting at an inside table.

“She looked pretty all right, a bit of long hair, neat and tidy,” he said.

“She had this fellow with her, short cropped hair, like Italian, Greek or something.

“You can pick they are foreigners.

”… I didn’t perve on her that hard.”

The trial continues. Big report in The Bulletin this week by Paul Toohey. Out Wednesday.

Posted by Tim B. on 10/24/2005 at 02:03 PM
    1. If only there were audio…

      Posted by Spiny Norman on 10/24 at 02:17 PM • permalink


    1. It’s sometimes referred to as “duck” tape because it’s waterproof.

      Posted by mojo on 10/24 at 03:49 PM • permalink


    1. Actually, our local home-builder sells a brand called Duck Tape.  It looks just like the other stuff though.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 10/24 at 04:14 PM • permalink


    1. ”… I didn’t perve on her that hard.”

      I really want to know what the question was that got that response!

      Posted by Lizzie on 10/24 at 04:58 PM • permalink


    1. Is being shit scared more or less intense than being scared shitless?  Inquiring minds, etc.

      Posted by BruceW on 10/24 at 05:26 PM • permalink


    1. Well what is a load of ferals and how do you give a mouthful to them?

      And the guy’s name is “Mr. Dick”!?

      Nobody has worked with that yet?

      Posted by madawaskan on 10/24 at 05:52 PM • permalink


    1. Nora’s colloquial dictionary:
      Feral – (when referring to people) more or less means white trash (and it’s handy because it applies to anyone of any ethnicity).

      Mouthful– as in ‘giving a mouthful to them’. Expressing one’s opinion vociferiously and with use of many expletives.

      — Nora

      Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 10/24 at 06:41 PM • permalink


    1. A question: if a Guardian reporter comes to Darwin and writes stuff, why does The Age decide to publish it? If an Age reporter went to London or Devon and wrote something, would The Times rush into print with it? The Age seems to run a Guardian-tagged piece about 3-4 times a week.
      and off -topic but what a MOUNTAIN of space The Age has devoted to Virginia Trioli and someone called Lindy Burns, who seem to be talkers on ABC Sydney-Melbourne radio.  Today’s quota: half of page 4. The most salient fact in all this: Trioli’s former Melbourne drive-time slot rated “equal fifth” with 10.4% audience share, and her new inherited Sydney
      slot also rated 5th on the prior survey, with 8.9% share.

      Posted by percypup on 10/24 at 06:54 PM • permalink


    1. Despite soaring humidity, full wigs and gowns are the order of the day.

      In your mind’s eye you can just see these guys getting all red faced and sweaty.  Right?  And what a comical picture it is.  Big shot judges and lawyers willing to undergo physical torments just for the sake of keeping up a ridiculous tradition and looking important.

      But the picture’s wrong because the court house is air conditioned, just like every other public building up here and almost every private one.

      Anyway, Martin’s a blow in himself.  He came up in 2004 from SA after having presided over the Snowtown case.  He’s also the bloke who lightly let off the 55 year old who beat and sodomised his 14 year old “promised bride”.  Of course in that case the court was sitting outside under a tree or something.  But that was in August, the Dry.  Humidity’s way down then.

      Posted by Janice on 10/24 at 07:45 PM • permalink


    1. Nora –

      Thanks so it’s Aussie speak then.

      So if I get called a “feral” by an Aussie-I’ll know what they are saying.
      Hey one good tip deserves another-found this really good Aussie shiraz-better than anything Californian that I have drank so far- it’s Penfold’s St. Henri 2000.

      Bottle says from South Australia.  I hope it’s cheap because it was a gift and I have been swilling it.  Heh.

      Posted by madawaskan on 10/24 at 07:48 PM • permalink


    1. #10 madawaskan – I hope you are using it only for marianating the meat, because that cheap plonk is only about $80 a bottle over there!  If they gave you a dozen, send me the rest and I’ll replace it with a nice Jacob’s Creek.

      Posted by SezaGeoff on 10/24 at 08:46 PM • permalink


    1. Nora, don’t forget feral kids, you know, the ones that rampage through the restaurant/shop/picnic area…

      If I had friends with feral kids (one had kids who rummaged through my handbag which I’d left on the lounge), I just stayed away from them…

      and then there are the hippies from Nimbin and surrounds, they were feral (but OK – I hear now that some of the area’s population has changed to heroin use and sell pot to support the heroin habit…)

      Posted by kae on 10/24 at 09:07 PM • permalink


    1. Ducks perved upon?

      The rule is, using a feather is kinky.  Using the whole bird is just sick.

      Not to mention agitated and noisy, what with all the flapping and squawking and pecking…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 10/24 at 09:36 PM • permalink


    1. ‘white trash’ and ‘feral’ are two different sub-cultures. ‘white trash’ usually bathe, unlike THIS superb example of a ‘feral’ captured in it’s native habitat near Nimbin.
      The ‘feral’ is a migratory or ‘nomadic’ creature often seen travelling between ‘feral’ havens such as Byron Bay and Maleny. Their mode of tranport is usually a stanky toyota Hi-Ace Van last registered in Victoria in 1995 – it can primarily be identified by the bamboo ‘tee-pee’ poles carried on the roofrack or a closer inspection may reveal mattresses and cooking implements inside the vehicle. Bird feathers, rocks and sea-shells usually adorn the dashboard.

      Posted by Deo Vindice on 10/24 at 09:38 PM • permalink


    1. Yokel backwater ‘eh? Trust a Leftie rag to use such elitist insults to describe a city in a western country!

      Posted by Brian on 10/24 at 10:14 PM • permalink


    1. Tim, you once suggested to me for various reasons that Darwin would be the destination of choice were my family and I to emigrate from Denver.  Well, Darwin seems like a real redneck town.  Did you mean this as a compliment or insult?  I’m taking it as a compliment.

      Living there, I wonder how long it would take to pick up the language.  I didn’t understand about half of what the hell the locals were talking about in those articles.  I understood “ferals” though, we call them “Boulderites.” Ward Churchill is their king.

      Posted by Matt in Denver on 10/24 at 10:20 PM • permalink


    1. madawaskan, you’ve got some good friends. St Henri is right up there with the best there is in Oz. The US trick is to look at the labels on the Oz reds -if it says ‘Coonawarra’[South Australia] you can be sure it’s better than anything Californian, and most of the world too..

      Posted by Barrie on 10/24 at 10:54 PM • permalink


    1. Ferals, eh?  I like that term, I think I’ll keep it.  Reminds me of The Feral Kid in Road Warriors (yes, I’ve seen all of them).

      What’s the Aussie opinion of Yellowtail?  I tried the shiraz, I thought it was excellent.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 10/24 at 11:19 PM • permalink


    1. ”… I didn’t perve on her that hard.”

      said greg dick (is that name for real!)
      obviously quite taken by her performance.
      did he give her a standing ovation whilst sitting down having a cuppa ?

      Posted by davo on 10/24 at 11:29 PM • permalink


    1. #14 Deo Vindice. Pretty well hit the nail on the head as far as “ferals” from or near Nimbin are concerned. I have a mate who is a resident of Mullumbimby and his “car” – for want of a better description – carries all the features that you mention – including the bird feather on the dash.

      One feature you did fail to mention is the obligatory “Magic Happens” sticker on the rear window. Apparently you must possess one of those to qualify as a local!!

      Posted by TruthHandler on 10/24 at 11:44 PM • permalink


    1. #20 Truthhandler.I prefer the sticker usually seen on utes of the HQ persuasion found at ute musters just about anywhere.”SHOOT FERALS”.It could refer to pigs or foxes but I prefer to believe it is regularly applied to vermin of the kind shown courtesy of #14 DeoVindice.

      Posted by Lew on 10/25 at 12:51 AM • permalink


    1. #9 you might want to check on that Janice. Brian Martin may have spent time as a judge in S.A. but I’m pretty sure he’s was in the Territory for many years before that. I may be wrong, but I think he was a lawyer in Alice Springs back in the 70’s – possible earlier, and then became Solicitor General for many years. I thought he was appointed to the bench from there, but amybe he went to S.A. for awhile first.

      Posted by larrikin on 10/25 at 01:08 AM • permalink


    1. Madawaskan, check this out. There’s probably better places to look, Google Australian Wines – have fun!

      It may help you see where your plonk comes from. Have a look around… it’s interesting. If you enter “Coonawarra” for example you get heaps of info.

      Posted by kae on 10/25 at 02:01 AM • permalink


    1. #21, Lew, no wonder he wanted to mouth off the ferals when he saw their van. After all, real Territorians drive Holden utes with bullbars, spotlights (for night roo hunting),and bumper stickers like Real Men Eat Meat; No Bushpigs!(or No Fat Chicks!); and Very Happy John!

      Posted by mr magoo on 10/25 at 03:01 AM • permalink


    1. #22

      I checked.  Peter Toyne’s media release announcing Martin’s appointment says nothing about previous service in the NT.  Given the predilection of people here (especially newspaper people) to claim anyone with the remotest connection to the place as a former Territorian then I’m sure that if he’d been here before it would have been mentioned.

      Posted by Janice on 10/25 at 03:12 AM • permalink


    1. Darwin IS a real rough town and how bout people who blow in for a short time and wind up dead a la Wolf Creek…..

      Posted by crash on 10/25 at 03:43 AM • permalink


    1. #26 crash,

      Darwin is NOT a real rough town.  Proportionately speaking, more people with a tertiary education live here than in anywhere else in Australia.  We have some long grassers but at least they don’t risk freezing to death when sleeping rough.  The cops cracked down on the Hells Angels crowd years ago so now you don’t see anywhere near as many blokes with tatts and bushy beards riding around on bikes as we used to do and the memorials to “Boof” in the NT News are becoming fewer in number.  (What sound does a biker make when he takes the curve in front of the Cool Spot too widely and hits a palm tree?  Boof.)

      And #24, real Territorians don’t necessarily drive utes.  Utes won’t do in the Wet.  Anyone who has to travel off the surfaced tracks, of which there are few, needs a 4WD.

      This town is small but we have people from almost everywhere.  That variety makes the place very interesting, particularly as far as restaurants are concerned.  We even have a fair sized (again proportionately speaking) population of ex-Yanks.  But they haven’t added anything to the local cuisine as far as I know.  Pity.  I wouldn’t mind knowing what it’s like to eat grits, whatever they are.

      Darwin is also strategically significant.  That means that we have services and institutions that other towns of a comparable size don’t have and probably won’t have at any time in the forseeable future.  Of course our symphony orchestra is pretty much an all-volunteer outfit but you can look at that as a failing or, if you’re a good musician, you might look at it as giving you a chance to play an enriching part in the life of the community – a chance that you’d never, never get in the big cities down south where professionalism rules.

      The only thing we don’t have is big, fancy, department stores.  But who needs them and all their big brand, expensive labels?  Who needs much in the way of clothes at all?

      Maybe I’ve said too much.  Don’t want too many people coming here, making it big and spoiling the place.  We might finish up with water restrictions.  It might take more than 10 minutes to get from home to the middle of the CBD.  Stay away.  Please.

      Posted by Janice on 10/25 at 08:07 AM • permalink


    1. Slightly O/T

      Travelling home last night, almost at the Walloon Saloon (a pub), when a truck pulled out of the pub’s narrow rear driveway onto the road. The truck had to cross the centre line of the road to manoeuvre so I stopped and let him do what he had to do. As he passed the bottle-o doorway a bloke exited the pub to cross the road and waved to the truck driver. The truck proceeded to the roundabout when I saw the slogan on the back, thought it worthy of repeating:

      Keeping Ipswich pissed for over ten years.

      and above that:


      Posted by kae on 10/25 at 06:56 PM • permalink


    1. Beauty!

      It’s just like Crocodile Dundee!

      All Paul Hogany and stuff.

      What do they call “blogs” over there?

      Posted by AST on 10/26 at 01:54 AM • permalink


    1. #29


      Posted by kae on 10/26 at 02:10 AM • permalink


  1. #25 it seems we’re both right. Apparently, all chief justices of the Supreme Court in the Territory are called Brian Martin, so as to avoid confusion. The one mentioned in the article who made the ‘blow ins’ comment is Brian Ross Martin. The one I was thinking of is Brian F Martin, who was indeed an Alice Springs lawyer and former Solicitor General who was appointed chief justice of the Supreme Court in 1993 – but he retired from the bench in 2003.

    Posted by larrikin on 10/26 at 03:43 AM • permalink